ExLink - 09/19/18 - TORvTIG - Campeones Cup

Toronto FC vs. Tigres UANL
2018 Campeones Cup

BMO Field — Toronto
September 19
— 8:15 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN2, Univision, UDN in USA; TSN1, TVAS2 in Canada

BMO Field will be buzzing Wednesday night when defending Major League Soccer champions Toronto FC meet Campeon de Campeones winners Tigres UANL in the first-ever Campeones Cup Wednesday night.

The 2018 Campeones Cup is the inaugural edition of the yearly event that is part of a larger multi-year collaboration between MLS and Liga MX, designed to bring fans together from the U.S., Mexico and Canada in a show of unity while fueling a rivalry between two of the world’s most competitive soccer leagues. The three countries will also host the 2026 World Cup together.

These teams are no strangers, having met in the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals in March. The thrilling two-legged series ended 4-4 on aggregate, with TFC advancing on the away-goals tiebreaker.

TFC won the home leg, 2-1, with Jozy Altidore canceling out Eduardo Vargas’ opening goal and Jonathan Osorio scoring a sensational winner on an 89th-minute backheel.

The scene shifted to Estadio Universitario, where Sebastian Giovinco struck for the decisive goal in a five-goal second half that saw Tigres claim a 3-2 victory on the day.

Toronto FC

Toronto will take momentum into Wednesday's game after a wild 5-3 victory over the LA Galaxy that kept their slim playoff hopes alive Saturday night at BMO Field.

For the first time ever in a league contest, the big three of Victor Vazquez, Altidore and Giovinco scored to open up a three-goal bulge that was erased before the hour mark.

Osorio, though, scored what proved to be the winner in the 75th minute and Jay Chapman added a stoppage-time insurance goal for the Reds, who sit nine points below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference with six games to play.

On Wednesday, the focus shifts to the Campeones Cup and as they've shown repeatedly, when silverware is on the line, TFC play their best soccer.

“This is an important game, for the league and our fans,” Greg Vanney said. “This is a cup that is going to become important over the years.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Chris Mavinga (hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE:  D - Auro (hamsring strain), D - Drew Moor (calf strain)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Alex Bono — Gregory van der Wiel, Eriq Zavaleta, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow — Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio — Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, Victor Vazquez

Tigres UANL

For the third straight year, Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres won the Campeon de Campeones, defeating Clausura winners Santos Laguna, 4-0, July 15 at StubHub Center.

Guido Pizarro and Javier Aquino struck three minutes apart late in the first half to give Tigres a 2-0 halftime lead. Lucas Zelarayan and Andre-Pierre Gignac struck twice in six minutes in the second half to secure the victory.

Tigres are currently 4-3-2 in the Apertura, good for seventh place, six points behind leaders Cruz Azul. They are unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, including a 1-1 Liga MX road draw against Pachuca on Saturday, with Zelarayan leveling in the 81st minute after Franco Jara gave Pachuca the early lead.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: M - Javier Aquino (right knee sprain), M - Francisco Meza (ACL tear)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Nahuel Guzman — Luis Rodriguez, Hugo Ayala, Jorge Torres — Jesus Duenas, Guido Pizarro, Lucas Zelarayan — Enner Valencia, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Jurgen Damm